Google accounts cockup

I started using Google Apps for my domain ( a few years ago, but before I migrated to Google Apps, I was already using a number of other Google services like Analytics, Adsense, Docs, etc. which I signed up, ofcourse, using my primary email address.

After I migrated my domain to Google Apps I ended up with two totally different accounts using the same email address – one was a Google Apps account and the other was a normal Google account (to access services like Analytics, etc.). This whole concept of dual login using the same primary email address but associated with two different accounts looked very flaky.

I would have imagined that switching between these two accounts would be subtle, but no Sir, its not. Maybe its just me but I have had endless streams of issues and conflicts working with these two accounts — so much so that I actually gave up using Google Docs and alike entirely.

Google Apps Account Transition

Anyway, after banging my head with these issues I was finally at peace with them. Until recently when Google decided to merge and transition these accounts. I received an invitation from Google to try out the new and improved Google Apps account. I ignored it as I was quite skeptical.

Fast forward a few months I received another email – basically saying that the transition is not optional:

I decided to finally give it a go and well, it ended up in tears!

Firstly, it was made very clear that I will not be able to revert back once transitioned

Secondly, I had no other choice but to transition (either I do it myself or it will be done for me)

Okay, so it happened and the next time I tried to login to one of the services I was greeted with a “Migrate your data” screen — which was nice if only it worked.

I was given two options:

  1. Migrate data to my Google App account
  2. Migrate data to another account (Gmail)

Proceeding with the first option lead me to:

So, I pursued the other option (which allows you to attach the account to another gmail address) and I learnt that it won’t let me do that if the gmail account already exists. To make it work, I will have to create a new gmail account.

Very helpful, Thank you very much Google!

Can’t migrate all services

Further digging around I found out that the migration is not possible for quite a few of Google services including Google Analytics, Google Reader, Google App Engine, Google Docs, etc. Basically, all the services that I cared about can not be migrated automatically.

Google is unable to migrate your account if your account uses services like Google Reader, Adsense or even Analytics – and will therefore leave you in limbo where your account works with half of their services after transition and for the other half you will be given a temporary google account something like Plus, this will dawn upon you as a discovery rather than being informed about it before hand.

To resolve these issues it looks like the only available options are:

  1. Create a new gmail account and then migrate those services to it or for some services it will let you attach an existing Gmail (non-Google App) account
  2. Migrate to a non-google email account (like Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.)
  3. Move data manually (which doesn’t migrate your account)

n.b. There are products that you can not transfer at all. Period.

Don’t you think all these solutions are half-baked? Because I really do get the feeling that somebody was trying to meet some deadline and decided to abandon giving a proper alternative (or atleast something that works).

Anyway, I didn’t want to create “yet another” account, so, I opted to try out manually moving data and I decided to experiment with Google Reader first (which wasn’t migrated automatically and so had to be done manually).

The way Google suggests to ‘migrate’ Google Reader accounts is to export your feeds from one account and import them in the other one. Oh, but hold on: how do I transfer my subscribers and redirect the already published subscription URL? I can’t.

Come on, guys! Seriously? I am sure you can do better than this.

It feels like Google is really struggling with their broken multi-accounts workflow; and its very visible to the end-users.

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